And the Winner Is...
Photo Credit: Invision/AP
The 2019 Emmy Awards offered up many groundbreaking moments. Calls for equal pay, for trans rights, and Jharrel Jerome’s win for “When They See Us” —making him the first Afro-Latino to win an Emmy award for acting—reminded everyone that representation on television helps drive, shape, and reflect cultural shifts.
In that spirit, we’ve gathered 6 of our favorite TV series—and one film! —for their informative, thought-provoking portrayals of sex, love, relationships, pregnancy, and the context in which it all happens. Three in four young people age 12 to 24 say that when characters they can relate to in TV/movies deal with sex and unplanned pregnancy, it helps them think about how they would handle similar situations, and more than half of young people say that something in pop culture has sparked a conversation with parents and other champions about sex, love, and relationships.
We chose this critically-acclaimed lineup because each show takes on sex and relationships with humor, depth, and messy authenticity as an essential part of its characters’ ongoing journeys—not in a one-off ‘very special episode.’ Whether you watch (or re-watch) these shows with your young people or on your own to pave the way for future discussions, there’s no shortage of conversation-starting moments. After you finish watching, read these tips to get you started.
- The Bold Type (Freeform): Inspired by life at Cosmopolitan, Jane, Kat, and Sutton work at fictional Scarlet magazine, navigating friendships, careers, relationships, future goals, and the power to decide their futures. Nothing is off the table—from egg freezing to emergency contraception to sexual identity—generating real-time conversations during weekly live-tweets with cast and producers.
Watch: https://freeform.go.com/shows/the-bold-type Follow: @TheBoldTypeTV
- Sex Education (Netflix): Maeve and Otis run an underground sex therapy clinic in their high school (inspired by Otis’s mom’s sex therapy practice), tackling every aspect of sexuality, relationships, biology, betrayal, and identity in this extremely candid and educational coming-of-age story.
Watch: https://www.netflix.com/title/80197526 Follow: @sexeducation
- Unexpected (TLC): TLC’s unscripted original series follows five teenage couples and their families as they navigate the joys and challenges of pregnancy and parenthood. We’re proud to serve as the show's lead pro-social partner for the third consecutive season. We collaborated on discussion guides, fact sheets, and more to help audiences use the show as a jumping-off point to open up conversations about unplanned pregnancy and the power to decide their futures.
Watch full episodes by downloading the TLC Go app or visiting: TLC.com/Unexpected. Follow and 'Like' the show on Facebook
- Good Trouble (Freeform): From the creators of “The Fosters,” this spin-off series follows sisters Callie and Mariana as they begin their lives in LA as young adults. Mixed in with themes that range from civil rights to trans issues to workplace equity, romance, relationships, love, sex, heartbreak, and identity take center stage.
Watch: https://freeform.go.com/shows/good-trouble Follow: @GoodTrouble
- Grownish (Freeform): In this spin-off of “black-ish” (ABC), college student Zoey Johnson has a lot of firsts: first sex, first heartbreak, first roommates, first roommate drama…and faces the challenges of life on her own for the first time. Enthusiastic sober consent and the challenges of being in a “situationship” (somewhere between hooking up and an exclusive relationship) are some of the topics Zoey and her friends debate as they live through them.
Watch: https://freeform.go.com/shows/grown-ish Follow: @grownish
- Shrill (Hulu): Based on Lindy West’s acclaimed book, Shrill brings to life, “Annie, a fat young woman who wants to change her life — but not her body. Annie is trying to start her career while juggling bad boyfriends, a sick parent, and a perfectionist boss.” An unplanned pregnancy in the first episode leads Annie on a course to find the power to decide her future in all areas of her life.
Watch: https://www.hulu.com/series/shrill-54eab813-3a9b-496d-9d7e-908597ad8d1a Follow: @Hulu
- “Ask Dr. Ruth” (Hulu): Ok, this is a documentary film, not a TV show. But it’s a wonderful depiction of the life and life-changing work of Dr. Ruth Westheimer—the world-famous sex therapist who pioneered open conversations about sex and changed the culture. The film is a timeless reminder that all people need and deserve someone they can trust to talk to openly and without shame.
Watch: https://www.hulu.com/movie/ask-dr-ruth-9dab1fcf-8f61-49f6-a2f1-531000a383e5 Follow: @Hulu
We’re proud to support and collaborate with these shows and other pop culture leaders in telling stories that inform and inspire audiences on topics related to reproductive health. The TV Academy has recognized the role these partnerships have played in helping to drive teen and unplanned pregnancy to historic lows.
As Let’s Talk Month – and the fall TV premieres --get under way in October, we’ll be back with more binge-worthy suggestions.
Until then, follow us at @PowerToDecide, follow these shows, and join the conversation with #TalkingIsPower.